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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Hay, John (1838-1905) to Mary Jay

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01569 Author/Creator: Hay, John (1838-1905) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 July 1862 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Written while serving as Assistant Secretary to President Abraham Lincoln to a family friend. Writes of General George McClellan and his failed Peninsula campaign, "...What a wretched conclusion of all our little General's boasting addresses and orders have we seen on the bloody banks of the Chickahominy! Sad as is the result to himself and the country..." Mentions General David Hunter's attempt to emancipate slaves, "How gloriously General Hunter has justified my statement that the future would prove his soundness in hatred of Slavery..." Hints of the coming of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, "But he will not conserve slavery much longer. When next he speaks in relation to this defiant and ungrateful villainy it will be with no uncertain sound. Even now he speaks more boldly and sternly to slaveholders than to the world."

People: Hay, John, 1838-1905.
Jay, Mary, fl. 1861.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
McClellan, George Brinton, 1826-1885.
Hunter, David, 1802-1886.

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Keywords/Subjects: African American History, Battle, Union Forces, Union General, Civil War, Military History, Emancipation, Emancipation Proclamation, Slavery, Abolition, President

Sub Era: The American Civil War